Warning: if you’re put off by very frank discussion of the female body and its functions, you should probably stop reading right now. I’m going to talk about menstrual cycles in a non-titillating manner.
In Book 1 I outline several methods of dealing with your period while working. I hadn’t tried them all when I wrote that section. Since then, I have. I’ve been off birth control pills for the past year and my periods have resumed their normal, very-heavy tendencies. Besides not working on my heavy days, I’ve tried some different methods. I have to. As always, being on my period guarantees lots of appointment-requests. I still haven’t figured out why that happens.
Obviously this post is for those who aren’t taking birth control that completely stops menstruation.
I still love my Instead Cups. The offer the best options. For light days, they’re perfect on their own. On heavy days I still put something absorbent inside the cup before inserting them. A low-to-medium absorbency tampon can work, or a small, natural sea sponge. It’s very important to remember you’re using backup and make sure you remove it when you remove the cup. Leaving it inside will cause an infection.
If you’re having sex with someone well-endowed, they could cause the cup to leak, with or without the absorbent materials inside. Not much you can do about that. Know your body, know your clients and try to work around your period if you and/or your clients really don’t want leakage. I discuss using the cups a bit more in Book 1.
Natural Sea Sponges
The have been used as tampons for a very long time. You can buy pre-sized ones online. Or you can try to find reasonably-sized and priced sponges in a store, usually a “healthy” or “green” store or the makeup section of a many other stores. Depending on where you live, it might just be easier to purchase them online.
These are very good instructions for cleaning your sponge. After washing my hands, I rinsed the sea sponge with very warm water, cleaned with dish soap, rinsed and rinsed, soaked it overnight in pure white vinegar, rinsed some more and then microwaved it on a clean plate for 3-4 minutes. It needed to be almost bone-dry but not burning!
Advice from experience: do not microwave dry sponges. They will burn up, turn black and stink very badly. I killed my favorite sponge this way.
If you aren’t going to use your sea sponge right away, put in in a clean sealed container. A plastic baggie or glass jar works. When you’re ready to use it, wash your hands, rinse the sponge thoroughly and microwave on a clean plate again. That first cleaning to make sure you’re killing any leftover bacteria from the sea. This cleaning might seem obsessive to you, but I don’t think anything you put inside your body can be too clean.
Even if you plan on using it with an Instead Cup, it’s a good idea to sew a thread or piece of plastic dental tape (a type of floss) through the middle of it while it’s still dry. Make sure your needle is sterilized with alcohol and just make a simple loop. It’s good if it’s a big loop. Knot the end well and cut any excess. Now you have something your fingers can grab if it goes a bit beyond your reach.
To use, first rinse it under warm/body temperature tap water until it swells and is completely soft again. Squeeze out the excess water. It should still be soft and fluffy. Fold it up so it resembles a tampon, maybe put some KY Jelly on the end to make it easier, and gently push it in. It’s like putting in a tampon with your fingers, but I find sea sponges to be much softer and gentler.
The sea sponge is rather absorbent, but if you have sex with just a sea sponge, expect it to get shoved quite far back in your vaginal canal. This makes retrieving it hard to do by yourself because your hand will be bent at a bad angle. If you can find your loop of string and get it wrapped around your finger, you can push down on it and pull out. More effort than a tampon requires but the same concept. Or do what a friend of mine does — “squat and grunt.” It really does work.
I find that sea sponges can get very slippery with blood and are often hard to grasp with your fingers canted at that angle. A trusted friend/partner who doesn’t mind fishing it out for you can make life easier.
Once removed, cut your thread out and throw the thread away because it will harbor bacteria. Rinse the sponge well under cold, cold water until it’s clean. Vinegar-soak, then microwave again, putting it back in its container until next time. If you need to reuse immediately, I highly recommend going through the whole microwave/threading process again. Cold water alone will not kill any germs, nor do you want to give yourself Toxic Shock Syndrome.
I’ve been wanting to try these for years. Europe has a couple of brands. I’m not sure why the US doesn’t carry any. Soft tampons are basically an artificial sponge, a lot like the contraceptive sponge from several years ago. Some of these sponges have a built-in loop to grab, others have a built-in finger-hole.
They’re simliar to sea sponges, minus all the maintenance. I recently bought and used my first soft tampons and love them.
The Beppy Wet tampon comes pre-moistened with sterile saline solution (the liquid that contact lens wearers store their lenses in). If you buy dry sponges you have to get them wet with water. I think it’s easier to just buy the wet ones. They’re a little rough and not as soft as a sea sponge but they still glide in easier than a tampon. They’re quite large – you fold them up, add a dab of KY Jelly to the end and push in. Done.
Because of their slightly rough surface, they’re easier for your fingers to grab when you’re ready to remove. The finger-hole helps a lot too. They don’t become as slippery as sea sponges either. Because of their size and springiness, it’s hard for them to get stuck so far in you that you can’t feel them and wiggle them down with your fingers. The only downside to their texture is that squatting and grunting doesn’t work very well because they’re not as slippery as sea sponges – they grip your vaginal walls better.
They don’t absorb blood so much as block your cervix and prevent blood from coming out. Flat, round, latex makeup sponges have the same effect. So when you remove a soft tampon, expect some amount of mess. Not as much as an Instead Cup, but more than an absorbent sea sponge.
Toss in the garbage and do whatever else you need to do.
FYI, they aren’t “green.”
It’s your body and you know how it works best. I can’t make any choices for you, nor do I want to. Please experiment safely. During your period your cervix is open and bacteria can easily enter your uterus (which is a sterile environment), potentially causing a life-threatening infection. Don’t be casual about what you do to your body.
If you discover a new method that works well, tell me! Post it on your blog and I’ll add a link here. Women always want to know how to have sex on their periods, not just escorts.